“Art Voices” Popular in Armenia since 2006, the jazz band Art Voices has spent several years honing its sound, which some have described as a fusion of jazz and both traditional and folk Armenian music. Founders Artur Grigoryan (saxophone) and Manuk Ghazaryan (piano) have fought to find local and international exposure for the band, which also features Avag Margaryan (blul [the traditional Armenian woodwind instrument]), Edgar Avetisyan (bass), Hamlet Shaghoyan (guitar), Levon Puchinayan (trumpet), Pertch Nahapetyan (drums), and Vahram Davtyan (trombone). In 2006 Art Voices was in the “Soldiers of the Future” educational program, featured alongside stars such as Gary Crosby and Abraham Wilson. While “Soldiers of the Future” was established and funded by the British Council of Armenia, this state-sponsored program has not been the only place where Art Voices has found an audience. In addition to several appearances in Armenian jazz clubs and on Armenian television, Art Voices has also appeared in such programs as the esteemed “Avant-garde folk club,” and in “Jazz Appreciation Month,” as well as at the Armenian International Jazz Festival in Yerevan. Art Voices has also performed for hundreds of fans in concerts in Moscow, and was awarded the Grand Prize at the Bucharest International Jazz Competition in 2009. Art Voices released its first ‘ethno-folk jazz’ album, in Armenia in 2009 and is currently working on a new album scheduled for an April 2010 release. Band Members Manuk Ghazaryan 27, (piano) was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1983. A lover of music from a young age, he settled on the piano after unsuccessfully trying to work with the drums. He enrolled in the Komitas Music Conservatory in 2000, where he majored in piano and graduated with honors in 2005. He co-founded Art Voices with Artur Grigoryan in 2005, and continues to perform with that band to this day. Ghazaryan enjoys composing jazz music, and has played with various famous jazz musicians. He has performed in many jazz competitions, festivals, and concerts individually and with Art Voices. Many consider him the ‘heart and soul’ of the band. Artur Grigoryan 26, (saxophone) was born in Armenia in 1983. After studying saxophone for more than a decade at music school in Sayat-Nova, he was accepted to the Komitas Music Conservatory, where he graduated with honors in 2005. After four years of graduate study at the Berkeley School of Music, Grigoryan graduated from there with honors in 2009. In 2005 he co-founded Art Voices, playing the saxophone, and continues to play with them today. Avag Margaryan 25, (blul: woodwind). Born in the Armenian city of Yerevan in 1984, Margaryan attended the Komitas Music Conservatory where he majored in traditional Armenian musical instruments. It was there that he became proficient in playing the blul, Zourna-Armenia’s national woodwind musical instrument, a woodwind instrument similar to a flute. Until 1998, Margaryan performed solo performances of this unique instrument in venues in France, England, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the U.S. Margaryan performed with the Armenian traditional band Akunk from 1998 to 2004, when he added his unique sound to Art Voices. Edgar Avetisyan 29, (bass) was born in Yerevan in 1980. Avetisyan was self-taught in the bass guitar, and after a brief stint in the band Ararat, he entered the Komitas Music Conservatory in 1997. His years at the conservatory afforded him an opportunity to join the Armenian Radio Jazz-Symphonic band, where he remained until joining Art Voices in 2007. While working with Art Voices, Avetisyan has won many jazz competitions in Armenia and around Europe. Hamlet Shaghoyan 34, (solo guitar) was born in Yerevan in 1976. Shaghoyan attended the Alexander Ter-Ghevondyan Music School from 1996 to 2000, where he studied guitar. He pursued radio and television work after graduation, and is known for his work in the Armenian Republic television Orchestra. He joined Art Voices in 2006. Levon Puchinayan 30, (trumpet) was born in Yerevan in 1979. Puchinayan had an early start with the trumpet, beginning in grade school in 1990 before joining the band Ararat, where he performed in many concerts and participated in many contests. In 1998 Puchinayan began working steadily and traveling widely with the Jazz Band of the Republic of Armenia. He joined Art Voices in 2006. Pertch Nahapetyan 29, (drums) was born
in 1980 in Yerevan, Armenia. Nahapetyan played drums from the age of four, citing Dave Weckl as his primary inspiration during this time. While he did not attend a major music school or conservatory, Nahapetyan did take master classes as he taught himself how to play the drums. Nahapetyan spent his early adult years playing with various rock, jazz, and traditional Armenian bands and traveled around the world, playing at concerts featuring famous Armenian singers. Nahapetyan joined Art Voices in 2006, but also works in Armenian Television, lending his music knowledge and expertise to several Armenian music shows. Vahram Davtyan 25, (Trombone) was born in 1984 in Yerevan, Armenia. Davtyan learned to play the trombone in school and joined the band Arabkir in secondary school. Upon graduating music school in 1997, he joined the band Ararat shortly afterward. He traveled widely with Ararat, and won many music competitions. He was accepted to the Komitas Music Conservatory in 2001, and graduated with honors in 2006. Davtyan has been performing with the Armenian Jazz Band since 2002 and joined Art Voices in 2009.
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